Indie Film Review “This Is Us”



First, the Recap:

They’re the person of your dreams. A soulmate, best friend, and lover wrapped into one. It all seems perfect, the ideal scenarios being painted that will lay out your future together. Now and always. Forever. Yet, there suddenly comes a moment when it all fades away, and a questioning of everything rises to the forefront. At this juncture, what would you do? For young couple Brendan (Raymond Creamer) and Daniela (Jessica Lynn Parsons), that time has come. With little to no pretense, Daniela announces one morning that her love for Brendan no longer exists. Completely taken aback, Brendan does what any man would do, despite a hurt and bewildered state of mind, and makes several awkward attempts to find out why while desperately holding on to what he’s about to lose.

Undeterred, Daniela initially leaves their apartment until a circumstance brings her back in–and to a place where events around her suddenly begin to fluctuate constantly and confusingly, frightening her to the extent of once again baffling Brendan. As each instance unfolds before Daniela, brought about by entering another room, exiting the apartment, or even falling asleep, she finally begins to realize that it’s a reliving of very specific moments in time during the pair’s relationship, memories filled with both amazing joys and heartbreaking lows. In this newfound awareness, Daniela makes every effort to try and re-write time and further manipulate the situations in order to rediscover the Brendan she fell in love with. But, in doing so, the effects might not be what she truly seeks, or possible even desires.

Next, my Mind:

Loaded with romantic drive, palpable tension, and affecting emotional heights wrapped in a firmly grounded, real-world sensibility and overall execution, director/co-producer/editor Jerry J, White III delivers a solidly crafted indie feature film that carries with it the kind of dramatic properties which make the genre soar.  It’s a film you feel, you relate to, you invest in, which is all greatly aided by writer/actor Creamer’s deftly constructed dialogue that so genuinely matches up with the character’s interactions and body language as visualized through simple, straightforward cinematography that very much makes the viewer believe they’re actually watching these circumstances occur in real life, in real time. Plus, to take the aforementioned foundational factors then add in the fantastical aspects via Daniela’s time shifting, it all serves to further enhance the narrative’s intent and impact, while illustrating hard lessons about figuring out what we want, losing it, trying to regain or reimagine it, then potentially being forced to ask ourselves if those changes were actually the answer we sought, and finally ascertaining how we move forward from that moment.

Parsons is as endearingly cute as she is believably vulnerable yet steadfast and determined in her role as Daniela, a young woman in the midst of utter heartbreak who’s come to a decision she absolutely feels is the right choice. Yet, once finally acting on it, it sends her into an extraordinary reality where she is forced to face and re-experience key recollections from her relationship with Brendan which, despite her trying to fight against it, causes her to rethink, reevaluate, and even re-explore all the facets that make up their love for each other. In view of the revelations that come from her endeavors to influence and alter events so as not to see mistakes repeated, it soon becomes apparent that these transformations may or may not be in either one of their best interests, perhaps even better left alone completely. Parsons’ performance is deep, real, and stirring throughout.

Creamer gets to enact the “everyman” to a “T” in his turn as Brendan, a shy, mildly reclusive, average guy who simply falls head over heels for Daniela, making her his entire world, but in doing so, relinquishing any sense of real responsibility as a whole in their relationship. Often deflecting and/or using humor to avoid real confrontation or expressing how he sincerely feels, it’s the challenge for him to come out of these mentalities, even though his reality isn’t shifting the way hers is in the process. We know his love for her is totally unconditional, yet it’s not in itself everything Daniela needs, and watching Brendan encounter and deal with this is very solidly portrayed by Creamer. Their chemistry together is undeniable, and this also helps make the characters being enacted that much more convincing.

Supporting turns are here, mainly covering roles as friends of the couple, from Amelia Brantley, Kayli Tran, Becca Scott Kerns, Tracey Fairaway, and Robert Palmer Watkins. In total, “This Is Us” serves as a moving, poignant drama that honestly presents a portrait of a relationship in trouble buoyed by sincere hearts, soul-moving love, and an ultimate aim to see it survive. It likewise showcases that sometimes, even in those times of turbulence, we can step back and realize that through it all, this is what’s needed to make it work, this is the time to fight for what we want when we love someone so absolutely, this is entrusting our hearts to another, this is accepting them as they are, faults and all. Yes, this is us.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!




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